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Bruno drops the ball, twice

The men's basketball team played its first two home games over Thanksgiving break, losing to both Bryant University and St. Francis College. The Bears came up short Wednesday night, falling to Bryant 68-61, and then again Saturday afternoon in a 76-72 overtime defeat at the hands of St. Francis.

Bryant 68, Brown 61

A sizeable crowd turned up to watch Bruno's (2-3) first game of the season at the Pizzitola Center. But the Bears were unable to stay with the Bulldogs - their only lead was 6-4 three minutes into the game. Turnover troubles tipped the game in the Bulldogs' (3-2) favor - while the Bears gave up possession 10 times in the first half, the Bulldogs lost the ball only twice.

Though both teams shot the ball with similar accuracy, the Bears continued to struggle with turnovers into the second half, ending with 19 compared to the Bulldogs' seven.

The Bulldogs held a 35-24 lead at the half, and they increased their lead to 16 points by the beginning of the second half, spurring the Bears into action. With about 10 minutes to go, Bruno went on a 13-3 run to narrow the deficit to six points. The Bears also had success rebounding, and they used that advantage on the boards to cut the lead to four points with five minutes remaining.

Despite the late comeback, the Bulldogs maintained their steadiness to keep Bruno at bay. A missed three-pointer by co-captain Sean McGonagill '14 and two missed free throws by Rafael Maia '15 stalled Bruno's offense in the closing minutes, allowing the Bulldogs to once again extend the lead. 

"We were playing on our heels, I thought, for the entire first half, and a few minutes into the second half," said Head Coach Mike Martin '04. "We started having a little more success once we were able to not play on our heels."

The Bulldogs found most of their points through their two main scorers: guard Dyami Starks had 25 and forward Alex Francis chipped in 18.  On Bruno's end, forward Cedric Kuakumensah '16 put up a career-high 14 points and McGonagill added another 14.

"Cedric's going to be a very good player; we're excited for his future," Martin said. "He has a lot of ability, certainly in the defensive end of the floor, and tonight he was confident and made some shots."


St. Francis 76, Brown 72 (OT)

Saturday's game against St. Francis (2-2) was decided in overtime after an exciting end to the second half. Kuakumensah, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, tied the game at 60 with 33 seconds left on the clock after a series of lead changes during the last minutes. The Terriers had led for much of the game, ending the first half ahead by 14 points, but the Bears staged the comeback after the break. Maia gave the Bears their first lead of the game, 53-51, with 6:15 left on the clock, scoring five points in one minute to grab the lead.

In overtime, the Bears took a quick lead with a three-pointer from McGonagill

But Bruno quickly lost its advantage when the Terriers went on a 10-1 run to bring the score to 71-64. The Terriers were able to stay ahead for the remainder of play. 

In addition to Kuakumensah and McGonagill, Maia and co-captain Matt Sullivan '13 also ended with double-digit scores, with 11 and 20 points, respectively. On St. Francis' side, Jalen Cannon led the Terriers with 20 points.

In Saturday's game, the Bears again had more turnovers than their opponent, drawing 23 to the Terriers' 15.

"I said since we started, we're not going to outscore teams, Martin said. "We're going to have to win games with our defense."

Bruno's next game will be at home against Sacred Heart University Thursday.



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